Oil industry missed natural gas flaring target in October
Jan. 22, 2018
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Revised numbers show North Dakota's oil industry failed to meet the state's natural gas flaring goals in October.
The Mineral Resources Department's latest figures show the industry flared slightly more than 16 percent of natural gas produced in October. The agency's preliminary numbers reported flaring 15 percent, the Bismarck Tribune reported .
North Dakota's Industrial Commission limits companies from flaring more than 15 percent in order to reduce the wasteful burning off of excess gas. Regulators can restrict oil production from companies that don't meet the 85 percent gas capture target. But the policy also includes many exceptions, which makes enforcing these restrictions uncommon.
Through October, 11 companies flared more than 15 percent, though none were ordered to cap their oil production. Alison Ritter, spokeswoman for the Department of Mineral Resources, said no restrictions were necessary because each oil producer had met one of the exceptions in the policy.
Preliminary figures released this week show that natural gas flaring declined to 282 million cubic feet per day in November. The industry met the state's target in November by flaring 14 percent overall.
Flaring from the state's Bakken and Three Forks wells represent the majority of production and determine gas capture policy. The gas capture goals will become more aggressive later this year, reaching 88 percent in November.
Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said reaching that target will require serious investment in natural gas gathering and processing, including more infrastructure.
Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said that natural gas production in North Dakota is expected to pass processing plants' capacity soon.
Two companies have recently applied with the Public Service Commission to expand natural gas processing plants in the state.
Helms and Kringstad plan to meet with the board of directors at the North Dakota Petroleum Council next week to discuss necessary infrastructure.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com